Brat sister is in town, which means I’m going to be seeing a lot of theatre these next few days.
Slept in this morning, woke up, went to the gym. I think I saw Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam from The Office, at the gym, but I wasn’t sure–she was sweaty and not wearing makeup, and also wearing a really large frumpy pink shirt. She did look at me oddly when I glanced at her, so maybe it actually was Pam. But who knows, I don’t watch that show.
I ran some errands post gym, then went home to shower and prepare for my sister and…sit around and wait for my sister forever. Jessica finally arrived around 4:30, and we headed out pretty quickly to go to Times Square and brave TKTS. And the rain. For today was another gross, cold, rainy, humid, awful day. Anyhow, we went to TKTS, and stood in line for awhile (munching hamentashen from Roxy’s, which is useless for anything other than their hamenthashen) and eventually got tickets for 9 to 5, the musical based on the movie from the 1980s. Dolly Parton wrote the music and lyrics, so how bad could it be? Also, the cast is fun, and the creative team (Joe Mantello directed) is impressive.
After the TKTS adventure we went to Hell’s Kitchen to have a real actual sit down dinner that didn’t involve a rushed slice of pizza. We went to Wondee Siam (II) and had some delicious thai food. We split steamed vegetable dumplings and curry puffs as well as an order of chicken pad thai. We may be boring but everything was yummy and sometimes one just wants predictable.
We left dinner and had some time to kill, so we wandered around the theatre district and made a stop at the monumental and awesome Drama Book Shop (tons and tons of plays, and a kitty!) and window-shopped at Anne Taylor Loft and the Gap.
The rain ultimately drove us, a little early, into the Marriott Marquis hotel/theater where we waited around and tried to dry off until the house opened. We took our seats at the back of the theater and watched the tourists in their jeans and t-shirts and sweatshirts trickle in around us. Look, I don’t expect black tie, but theatre used to be an event and people used to get really dressed up for it. At least but on maybe, a nice pair of jeans and a nice pair of shoes an perhaps a collared shirt or a blouse? And sneakers, really people?! I mean, really. A little effort, please.
Yes, this post is full of theatre snobbery. Deal.
Anyhow, the show itself was really fun. The three leads, Allison Janney (in the Lily Tomlin role), Stephanie J. Block (in the Jane Fonda role) and Megan Hilty (in the Dolly Parton role) are all good in different ways. Allison Janney really can’t sing or dance but she is delightfully dry and funny and can deadpan like no one else. Also she is really tall. Also she has a drug-fueled fantasy sequence where she is dressed up like Snow White and skips around the stage, and it is really awesome. Stephanie J. Block has an excellent voice which she showcases in her song at the end of the second act, “Get Out.” Megan Hilty does a fun and perky (very perky) Dolly Parton impersonation–it could also be annoying, depending on how you feel about Dolly Parton. I personally find her kind of charming. Oh, also, Marc Kudisch (who I love) is fairly amusing as the boss, which is a pretty thankless role, but Kudisch has a phenomenal voice and evidently can flex his chest muscles separately? Is that the sort of thing actors put on their “other talents” portions of their resumes?
Dolly Parton’s music is enjoyable but she isn’t entirely suited for Broadway, particularly lyrically. “9 to 5” is stuck in my head, however. The choreography worked with the idea of the 9-to-5 grind, but Jessica was correct in stating that it was “just like In the Heights, but without hip-hop.” Same choreographer, go figure. I also really liked the use of the digital screen in the background, it made for some amusing visuals.
During intermission I was in line with a bunch of high schoolers who I think were here for some sort of dance program, as they were talking dance classes. They were also talking photography in the theatre, which, among ringing cell phones and people in jeans and t-shirts, is one of my major audience annoyances. They were debating whether or not they could take photos of the show, since no announcement had been made pre-show. I sort of bugged my eyes out at them and told them that no, photos were absolutely not allowed, for both legal purposes and for the safety of those onstage. When I said this, one of the girls sort of wrinkled up her face at me and said, and I quote: “Oh, well, we’re from Minnesota, and we don’t have plays in Minnesota, so we don’t know.” That was quite possibly one of the oddest things anyone has ever said to me; it took great effort to not laugh. Okay so I’m a snob but come on, there must be culture in Minnesota. The Walker Art Center is there, and like, urban centers, and such. I don’t know, I’ve never been to Minnesota, it is cold there, that’s all I know.
Anyhow, final verdict on 9 to 5 is that it is highly enjoyable and entertaining and filled with lots of talent. Not what I would call a great critical achievement but I had fun, and that’s all that matters in the end.
After the show Jessica and I got some yogurt at Red Mango. On a related note, check out this ridiculous article from SeriousEats about Pinkberry delivery. I agree with the final statement: Red Mango, please deliver!
While walking back to the subway from Red Mango we passed Marc Kudisch in civilian garb (though he still had his gross porny mustache; talk about suffering for your art!) and Jessica had a nerd moment and told him that he’d done a great job in the show. He seemed to appreciate it, and probably appreciated not being bothered any further on his way home. Yay random sightings.
So now we’re both in my apartment, getting ready for bed. Tomorrow we will get up and either go to the gym/for a run or go to brunch, depending on the weather and how we feel. We have tickets for the matinee of Hair (yay two drug-fueled fantasy sequences in one weekend!) and are hoping to get tickets for Rock of Ages which could possibly be the best thing ever. I mean, they give you little glow-stick lighter thingies to wave. How cool is that?
In the meantime, I leave you with one last bit of evidence as to the supreme nerdiness of my sister: